Peregrine Falcons

I have been photographing this pair of peregrine falcons for the last 4 years but I don’t think I’ve been treated to such an acrobatic flying display in perfect conditions quite like what I enjoyed last week.

Just after I had set myself up in a carefully-chosen position, both birds came back to the nest carrying food. Shortly after, the female took off again carrying the remains of a bird in her huge talons. She climbed higher and higher and then without warning, dropped the food, tucked herself into a stoop and followed it towards the cliffs below.

Now, you’re probably asking why I don’t have better pictures but following the fastest animal in the world with a lens equivalent to a 728mm (400mm plus a 1.4x teleconverter on a 1.3x crop camera body) is just about manageable when soaring but such erratic flight takes a true master and, I must admit, my technique hasn’t been kept up to scratch. Still, it was good practice for my forthcoming trip to Scotland and it has whet my appetite for a return to the site once the chicks have fledged.

Peregrines have become a symbol of conservation success since their recovery from persecution and pesticide poisoning, which peaked in the 1960’s. Their tendency to nest on high-rise buildings in towns and cities across the UK has also helped to engage a large sector of the UK’s urban public by showing that you don’t have to travel into the countryside to find awe-inspiring wildlife.

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3 Responses to “Peregrine Falcons”

  1. […] of South and West Wales and is home to nearly half a million seabirds as well as short-eared owls, peregrine falcons and choughs, but it is probably best known for its colony of more than 10,000 puffins. This time of […]

  2. […] retire to the shelter of a cafe for the afternoon for some emails and editing. I didn’t think peregrine falcons would give me as much of a run around the next day, especially knowing that Yorkshire’s […]

  3. […] so it’s not surprising to learn that Malta’s last remaining resident pairs of peregrine falcons and barn owls were all shot by […]

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